An impromptu interview with Deadmau5

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“Feel left out or something? Meh, I was probably just having a shit day.” That’s how Joel Zimmerman, the man in the Deadmau5 helmet, responded to inthemix (via Twitter, where else?) after we posted this story today. So began our impromptu ‘music only’ conversation on Twitter with one of the most divisive, outspoken figures in electronic music.

Without prep time, here’s how the off-the-cuff back-and-forth between Deadmau5 and inthemix (in 140 character bursts) played out – with a contribution from, yes, Darude. We touched on his raver past, his prickly reputation and the music-makers he respects. Plus he “didn’t call anyone a c**t”!


ITM: Let’s have a music-only interview! You up for it?

Joel: No. Not really. But I know a dude…unless you wanna just do it over Twitter.

ITM: Let’s talk about Stimming (and others like him) – are you still digging what he does?

Joel: Yeah, of course. People like him (and others) matter. They’re the seers, the music givers, the musical boundary pushers.

ITM: For sure. Have you caught him live? Only ‘cause I get the sense you don’t LOVE the whole dancefloor/club experience?

Joel: Haven’t…only because it would break my heart to see someone like him playing in a bottle service club… and I don’t get out much.

ITM: Ha, might have to head to Germany for it! When was the last time you were on a dancefloor for ‘fun’?

Joel: I love Germany. Last time I was on a dancefloor was for Axwell at Guvernment last summer, believe it or not.

ITM: We re-read your ‘07 interview with ITM on your first Oz tour – remember that? You were so enthused in it! Thoughts on that time?

Joel: Rad experience, good people at Kink and TFU, pre-Ghosts n Stuff, no expectations of me. Loved it.

ITM: Since then, it’s just been festivals for you here – would you be more interested in a ‘headline show’ return?

Joel: I’m 180% focused on a ‘headline show’ at the moment… problem is, as always, $ to kick it off, so I gotta play nice for now.

ITM: Also, interesting about expectations: did expectations ever change how you went about music post-Ghosts n Stuff?

Joel: Nah, I expected to just do my best and apply my talents to the best of my ability… still hasn’t changed.

ITM: Everyone seems to lead you into what you DON’T like musically, but what is inspiring you?

Joel: “What I don’t like” makes the headlines. That’s easy. “What I like” is usually dismissed as general bullshit found in any interview.

ITM: A great quote in that ‘07 article: “my new ‘problem’ lately has been: what exactly is deadmau5?” Still relevant, or clearer now?

Joel: I’m still very confused as always on that one. I guess it will remain as some kind of enigmatic ego struggle.

ITM: Interesting. Do you have a sense of what ‘Deadmau5’ is to your fans?

Joel: A unique identifier for whatever the hell I put my dirty hands on I suppose.

ITM: What were you raving to in your early days? Circa: those awesome rave photos.

Joel: Art Of Trance, Union Jack, more or less anything on Plus 8 or Platypus Records, then Binary Finary, by whoever that was, ended it. Remember that? At least in in North America, that was the hell-spawn track responsible for “club friendly palatable trance musics”. I think DaRude should get an honorable mention in here somewhere…

Darude: Haha, thanks, I guess… Any publicity is good publicity!?

ITM: Ha! It had that effect on you? Game over?

Joel: I remember being in a club by chance and hearing that, then thought… fuck, there goes that then. Cue Corsten / Tiesto I guess.

ITM: So, what then for you, into the bedroom to come up with a better alternative? What irked you about it?

Joel: Oh I wasn’t interested in doing anything like that, I fell into dance land again long after “real life and job land” kicked in.

ITM: V. interesting – what brought you back into dance land? Because you were very prolific pretty quickly.

Joel: I had a cool mouse head and a few well rounded ideas.

ITM: Ha, fair enough. We have to ask, what was the real life job before that?

Joel: I used to deliver goats to farms in a beat up ass Datsun truck out in Barrie, Ontario…

ITM: Also, you mentioned Plus 8; is the SXSW thing with Richie Hawtin more comfortable/attractive than a journalist talk?

Joel: Knows what he’s doing, and he’s very intelligent and applies himself to his work more than most, that’s comfort for me.

ITM: Do you think electronic music (the kind for dancing) needs the club environment to make sense? ‘Cause you’re not a ‘party guy’.

Joel: Well they had to do something with all those discos back in the 70’s. ‘EDM’ unknowingly unfucked a potential realty disaster.

ITM: Ha! Perhaps instead of club, maybe I meant the dancefloor/communal/live experience.

Joel: Well that’s a big difference don’t you think? Of course. “Music bring people together” to be interview friendly about it. I got 15 mins left here, sorry…Valentine’s day / night and all that…need to spend time with the Kat.

ITM: No worries, you’ve been more than excellent with your time.

Joel: And I didn’t even call anyone a c*nt! ...’cept Nero (dude you left your USB key thing at the HOB show). Don’t worry, Paul / Dean will give it back, stupid c*nt.

ITM: Because some think you hold [the dancefloor] in contempt. Guardian UK: “the album gives impression of someone who’s never danced in their life”.

Joel: Because everything The Guardian says on “them kids today and that crazy techno music these days” is gospel.

ITM: Re: The Guardian, certainly not gospel, just a particular argument you’ve probably heard before.

Joel: Give me an argument I haven’t heard before and ill give you my mousehead, a CDJ, and an oversized Rubik cube. Anyway… cheers for the impromptu interview…Valentines time!

ITM: Appreciate it! Come to Australia (OK?).